Tracing other parties as PDP, APC clash for Ekiti governorship
But in less than two weeks from now eligible voters in the state would show how far they know the state and the best man to serve them as governor for the next four years.
The race to Oke Ayoba Government House had presented as if it is a straight electoral battle between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
That scenario tended to create the illusion that other political parties taking part in the July 14 governorship poll range from pretenders to unserious contenders.
But, the reality on the ground is that there are serious political parties jostling for the governorship seat as there are mushroom platforms seeking for notice.
Officially, there are 34 candidates from that number of political parties as listed by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
However, out of that number, only few have offices in the state capital, while fewer have offices at the local government councils.
In tracing the other political parties and their candidates, attempt is made to focus on their clout and capacity to make a dent in this week’s poll.
Alongside PDP and APC, the first row political platforms, as far as the Ekiti governorship poll is concerned, include, Social Democratic Party (SDP), Labour Party (LP), Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) and Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP).
PDP: Prof. Kolapo Olusola (50)
Olusola is a Professor of Building Technology from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and hails from Ikere Ekiti, a cosmopolitan town with the second largest population of voters after Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
Apart from being the incumbent deputy governor, Olusola’s strengths include the fact that he comes from Ekiti South Senatorial district, which is yet to produce a governor in the political history of the state.
The people of the zone might want to take advantage of Olusola’s candidacy to realise their long time ambition, especially against the background that they have the highest number of local government councils.
That means votes from Ikere, Ekiti East, Emure, Ise-Orun, Ido-Osi, Ekiti Southwest and Gbonyin, might go into the PDP candidate’s ballot.
Then, another point to consider is that Olusola’s running mate, Mr. Kazeem Ayodeji Ogunsakin, is a young banker aged 39 years and is also the immediate past council chairman of Ado local government council of the state.
Added to that, Ogunsakin hails from Ado, which is the capital city and houses the largest voting population in the state.
If the power of incumbency is anything to go by, Olusola and Ogunsakin would also latch unto the support and goodwill of the outgoing governor, Fayose, who had been a constant presence in the electioneering through the 177 wards of the state.
But, the PDP candidates’ weakness has to do with his perception as a political neophyte, who is yet to master the intricacies of party politics. He does not stand tall and tough in the stature of his boss, Ayo Fayose.
Next to that is the possible impact of the internal crisis that trailed the governorship primary, which led to the exit of some notable members from the party.
How far the exit of those former members could hurt the ultimate fortunes of the PDP flag bearers on th ballot would be seen on July 14.
The PDP candidate dismissed opposition APC’s claim of political amateurism against him, saying, “those who say so, underrate my cognate experience as an academic and a politician in the corporate world.
I have held national positions as member of the Nigeria Professional Builders Associations and we have campaigned throughout the length and breadth of the country. During this encounter, I have gained rich experience as a politician.
I have been a Pastor for many years and related with old, young, poor and highly placed.
“Besides, I have been thoroughly tutored in the school of a professor of grassroots politics, governor Fayose and I have become very knowledgeable.
I have represented governor Fayose in various capacities, even at the Federal Executive Council meetings in Abuja.
APC: Dr. John Kayode Fayemi (55)
DR. Fayemi holds a Doctorate degree in War Studies and is not only the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, but also immediate past Minister of Steel Development and Solid Minerals.
It is on record that during his tenure as governor, spanning 2010 to 2014, Fayemi recorded huge infrastructural development across the state, which could be seen from the many rural and urban development projects he put up.
It is also notable that as governor, Fayemi constructed at least 1.5 kilometres of roads in each of all the 16 local government councils of the state.
He built town halls, renovated health centres, new markets and hospitals for the locals and gave them boreholes.
It was during Fayemi’s tenure that rural allowance for teachers, which is 25 percent increment of their basic salaries, was paid.
He also supported core subject teachers with 25 percent increment of their basic salaries as incentives for those that taught core subjects such as, English Language, Mathematics and other Science subjects.
Fayemi also increased minimum wage of workers three times, while in office.
His area of strength lies in the fact that he picked his deputy from Ado Ekiti with the largest voting population just like the PDP candidate.
He will undoubtedly receive Federal support. Money will certainly not be his problem.
Fayemi will also harvest from the 32 aspirants who contested the primary election with him.
Beyond his support base, another major positive factor in his favour is the gale of defections from the PDP to APC, which had seen the likes of Prince Dayo Adeyeye, former PDP National Publicity Secretary, Owoseni Ajayi, immediate past Commissioner for Justice and about three members of the Ekiti House of Assembly among others, defecting to join forces with the ex- minister against the PDP.
On the negatives, Fayemi’s alleged ‘sins’, with the teachers and civil servants have not made things easy for him.
Despite repeated assurances from him to this category of workers, they appear adamant. And they form a sizable percentage of the entire voting population in Ekiti.
It was that same voting bloc that analysts said, caused his defeat by governor Fayose in 2014 poll.
Also, although Fayemi’s indictment by a panel of inquiry had been vacated by the court, the indictment and his failure to resign as minister prior to the governorship primary of APC are seem to be working against him.
Despite those shortcomings, Fayemi said: “My records of excellent performance in all areas of development and in all communities are there.
I cannot sack any teacher or worker, as being peddled as rumours all about, but will continue to give them more incentives.”
LP: Sikiru Tae Lawal
THE LP standard bearer is a former deputy governor to former governor Segun Oni and he was in PDP. Lawal defected alongside other aggrieved ex-loyalists of Governor Fayose, after the governor threw his weight behind his deputy, Olusola Kolapo Eleka, to succeed him.
Lawal holds a Doctorate degree from the University of Ibadan and his wealth of experience in the civil service, as head of several government parastatals and deputy governor form the bulwark of his electoral strength in the race.
Despite PDP and APC standoffs, Lawal believes that he would carry the day on July 14.
“I have my reasons, one, God is at work and two, this is a civil service state and we have tried the APC and now the PDP, the people have been disappointed and what they are clamouring for is a change and that positive change, the Labour Party, as the only credible alternative, is ready to give it.
I am part and parcel of this state and I know what they want, what I need to do and more importantly, God is at work. This is God’s own project.”
He maintains that Labour Party “is not new in the state, it is a household name, the present governor, Fayose, once contested on the platform of Labour Party, the Director-General of my campaign team, who was a three-time commissioner in the state, contested on the platform of this party, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (MOB) contested on the platform of this party, the only new thing Labour Party is set to do now is that we are contesting to win.
The fact that they are giving money to people and meeting with teachers to give them money is not strange.
What I do tell them is, take the money, but vote their conscience.
“What is going to happen in Ekiti is like the parable of two giant dogs that were fighting over a big bone, they fought and fought and left the big bone behind, a small dog just came and picked the big bone, this is going to happen.
The people are already shouting of their tiredness with these parties.
The weakness of the platform, both in stature and funding define the weakness of the LP flag bearer.
SDP: Akinloye Aiyegbusi (44)
The SDP flagbearer, who is a banker and one of the youngest contestants in the race, hails from Ikole, in Ikole local government council.
Aiyegbusi believes his youthful age is an advantage, insisting that he represents the younger generation that were recently given the chance to succeed the older generation through the Not-Too-Young to Run legislation.
On his chances at the July 14 poll, Aiyegbusi boasts that his party’s primary’s goal is to hand power back to the people, saying, “We are giving power back to the people, the deprived, the undermined, the people in the society.
Those who have been oppressed, among others, we are giving power back to them, I mean, the grass root.
“ My support base is basically the youths, they constitute over seventy percent of the electorate and they are solidly behind me.
I don’t believe in incumbency. It is all about what you want to do.
The same incumbent that is oppressing the people, by not paying their salaries, not paying the pensioners, not paying the labour union, these are the people we are relating with and they are the ones to vote.”
MPN: Bisi Omoyeni
ON the list of candidates from INEC, Bisi Omoyeni, who hails from Ikere Ekiti, same town the flag bearer of PDP, Olusola, was named as the flag bearer of MPN.
He is also a former deputy governor and was formerly in PDP with governor Fayose, before he pulled out to pursue his governorship ambition.
MPN adopted him after dumping Sunday Balogun, the winner of the party’s primary.
Is he hoping to triumph on July 14? “Very sure, I will win come July 14. We have so bright a chance that we will win the election. The people are anxiously waiting for us to come into government.
“Now, Fayemi’s administration was not better off and the people do not want him to come back, while Fayose’s administration has been plagued by months of unpaid salaries.
Also, from the audience survey, they are fed up of the APC and the PDP and they want the MPN to come on board.
“Three things are already speaking for me: the integrity and conscience that I carry, reference can be made to my clean personality at anytime and my manifestoes are not for selfish reasons at all, but to better the lives of the people, creation of jobs, payment of salaries as at when due and lots more.
ANRP: Reverend Tunde Afe (48)
Reverend Afe is from Ikole-Ekiti, Ekiti north local government council. He is a motivational speaker, whose daily radio programme commands sizable audience across Ekiti State, especially among the youths. He is also a Pastor and church founder.
It would be seen on July 14 how far his listeners could translate to winning votes.